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Argos’ first digital store in the north opens in Manchester

Argos has opened its first new digital store in the North of England in Manchester, transforming the shopping experience for local customers.

Selected from more than 700 Argos stores across the UK and Ireland the store is designed to showcase a new digitally enabled way to shop, with new services such as the ability to prepay online for Fast Track store collection in seconds.

Located at the Manchester Fort Shopping Park, the new, larger ‘paperless’ store, has a fresh and contemporary look, with tables of tablets replacing the laminated paper catalogues, stock checkers and pencils.

Research¹ commissioned by Argos into what local shoppers want from retailers in Manchester has revealed that around 85 per cent of people have shopped online using a computer, laptop or tablet and one in three Mancunians shop on their mobile phones. A huge 90 per cent still shop on the high street.

The new store embraces online shopping with the convenience of a physical store. Customers can benefit from a new service allowing them to browse and pay for goods online at home for collection at a new Fast Track area in the store. They can also access free WiFi and charge their own smart phone or tablet using the free ‘charge bar’ available.

Store staff have received special training to provide more help to customers on the shop floor using technology.

Steve Farndale, Argos’ Regional General Manager for the North, said: “We’ve been committed to the Manchester Fort area for the last ten years and it’s fantastic for our local customers that this store was selected for a digital makeover.

“We’ve had really positive feedback from customers on the bright new modern look of the store, and the tablets and digital media screens. They have told us that they can really see the benefit of being able to pay online and collect quickly using the new Fast Track service. The revamped store holds 40 per cent more products now, meaning that we can provide even more choice, more quickly, to our customers.”

Dr Amna Kahn, Senior Lecturer in Consumer Behaviour and Retailing at Manchester Metropolitan University Business School, said: “Manchester consumers use online and mobile technologies to shop but they also enjoy the retail shopping experience. Argos’ new digital store in the Manchester Fort Shopping Park, is perfect for their changing consumer needs.”

The new digital stores equip Argos for the digital revolution, as shoppers increasingly browse and buy online via PCs, tablets and other mobile devices, while still needing the immediacy of a local store to pick up their purchases. More than 50 per cent of Argos’ total sales now start online. Revenue from mobile phones and tablets represents 18 per cent of the total sales.

Argos first opened its Manchester Fort store in September 2005. It has a total of 27 stores in the Manchester and Lancashire area, employing around 765 people across the region.

Source : Home Retail Group
www.homeretailgroup.com/news-and-media/news.aspx?smlbus=1519&article=5481

21 April 2014
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